Case Studies » Sickness » 2014/16 - Specified Disability: Diabetes (Type 2), Hypertension
Specified Disability: Diabetes (Type 2), Hypertension
Background: The appellant, aged 44 years, had been in receipt of Illness Benefit and was in receipt of a Diet Supplement of €6.50 per week under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme. He had an in-person assessment with a Medical Assessor of the Department of Social Protection. In the opinion made available to the Deciding Officer following that assessment, it was stated that while the medical evidence did indicate a level of incapacity, it was not consistent with substantial disability/restriction. In terms of the ability/disability profile, the appellant’s G.P. had reported as follows:
- Vision – affected to a mild degree
- Manual Dexterity – affected to a mild degree
- Reaching – affected to a mild degree
- Lifting/Carrying – affected to a mild degree
- Bending/Kneeling/Squatting – affected to a moderate degree
Oral hearing: The appellant attended alone and submitted a recent letter from his G.P., confirming the diagnosis and stating that he also suffers from Ischemic Heart Disease, and that his blood pressure is difficult to control. He also submitted a list of his prescribed medication.
The appellant advised that he had worked as an operative, doing the night shift, but left employment about two and a half years due to health concerns. Initially, he had claimed Jobseeker’s Benefit but then made a claim for Illness Benefit. He reported that he had first become ill some eight years earlier and said that there is a history of heart disease in his family. He said that, more recently, he has had an issue with pain in his shoulder and is waiting for a pain clinic appointment.
The appellant stated that his Diabetes can be fine for a few days, and then it can go out of control. He reported that he has been attending his G.P. recently due to shoulder pain, that he attends the Diabetic Clinic every two months, and that he was hospitalised for one night last year because of low blood sugar. He advised that he is monitored by the clinic nurse and that his Diabetes is controlled by means of diet. He does not attend a Consultant.
The appellant went on to say that he requires bed rest and lies down regularly in the afternoon as he suffers from tiredness, breathlessness and sweats. In terms of exercise, he reported that he walks for 15-20 minutes daily and would be afraid to walk too far in case his blood sugar levels fall. He said that he drives occasionally but that he checks his blood sugar levels beforehand.
Comment/Conclusion: The Appeals Officer observed that the appellant’s main health issues were related to his Diabetes and to his newly certified shoulder pain. He had reported that he left work as a consequence of his Diabetes and that he had difficulty controlling his blood sugar levels. She noted, however, that there was little evidence that he had sought further medical intervention since leaving work; while he was attending a Health Centre and his condition was being monitored by a Nurse from the local hospital, he had not been referred for consultation with a Diabetic Consultant/Endocrinologist. The Appeals Officer accepted that the appellant’s condition may restrict him in some ways but concluded that he had not established that he met the qualifying conditions for receipt of Disability Allowance.
Decision of the Appeals Officer: The appeal is disallowed.
Decision reason(s): The medical qualifying conditions for Disability Allowance require that a person must be substantially restricted in undertaking work which would otherwise be suitable having regard to their age, experience and qualifications and the specified disability must be expected to continue for at least one year.
Having carefully examined the evidence in this case, including that presented at the oral hearing, I have concluded that it has not been established that this condition is met in the appellant’s case. In particular, the most recent medical evidence presented was from the appellant’s G.P. [on date specified] No specialist medical evidence has been made available in relation to the appellant’s Diabetes which appears to be the main health issue spanning the last three years. In the circumstances, I regret that the appeal cannot succeed.